Monday 19 February 2018

Hodgson stays defiant amid talk of battle to avoid drop

Rory Smith

ROY HODGSON last night conceded Liverpool cannot regard themselves as being too big for the relegation battle as he reflected on their crushing defeat by Blackpool at Anfield.

"If you are in the relegation zone, then you are in a relegation battle," the Liverpool manager said.

Liverpool have won just one of their seven league matches -- a 1-0 victory over West Brom at home -- and are 18th in the table with just six points.

"I'd rather not think about it," was Hodgson's response to being asked about the game.

"In the first half we were correctly punished for a lacklustre display. We had the ball as much as them but did not do anything with it, anywhere near enough to satisfy my, the club's or the players' demands.

"We conceded two goals on counter-attacks but in the second half we came out and tried to turn matters around but could only get one goal.

"Their great result is our nightmare result. It is a very bad day and there is nothing I can say.

"At the moment, things look bleak and really bad and it is difficult for me to put a bright face upon it. There are 31 games left but when you are in the relegation zone you are in a relegation battle.

"But I really don't think my concerns are with relegation; my concerns are that we are not playing to our full potential. I am not going to think too much about relegation with 31 games to go."


"I am absolutely convinced Liverpool will not be in the bottom three at the end of the season. Whether we can fulfil our ambition of finishing towards the top is another matter, but when you saw the way we played in the second half I am incredulous anyone can suggest we will finish in the bottom three."

If Hodgson was in any doubt that his honeymoon period is over just three months after taking over, it came shortly before the end when the Kop began chanting the name of club legend Kenny Dalglish, who was overlooked somewhat dismissively for the manager's job when Rafael Benitez left in the summer.

The 62-year-old took the slight on the chin. "What's fair and unfair? There is no fairness. The fans are entitled to voice their frustrations, they are a frustrated group at the moment," he added.

"I am the one responsible because I am the team manager. When the team does badly then the criticism is going to fall my way and I have to accept it."

As for Torres' latest injury, he said: "It is a groin strain, but I don't know how severe it is yet.

"It came as a surprise to us, we had no awareness there were any problems in the groin area. I don't know if it was something that happened during the course of the game." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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